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Camino Primitivo: Oviedo – Santiago

Route por Hospitales


It is August 16 and from Oviedo I start today with camino Primitivo. This route mainly consists of mountain stages and has beautiful views of Picos de Europe. Among all caminos, this camino is considered the toughest and most beautiful. Alfonso II, king of Asturias is said to have been the first to choose this route in 814 for his journey to Santiago de Compostela. It all sounds really good, I’m looking forward to it!

The day starts well, I can have a nice breakfast right around the corner of the hostel at a Spanish coffee bar. After breakfast I take a short city walk. Oviedo is the starting point of the Primitivo pilgrimage route and it shows, the pilgrims walk out of the city in a long line one after the other.

As soon as I leave Oviedo, the area turns green. I walk part of the route along grasslands with cows and also a part through the forest. After a quiet first day I treated myself to a hotel room, one night sleep without snorers!

Where to stay?

Due to Corona, there are fewer sleeping places at hostels and albergues. Every day it is puzzling how many kilometers I will walk and where I will spend the night. Along the way I get some tips from the locals at a donativo coffee bar. Great my goal for today will be La Espina, it is around 30 km. I also helped others to find a place to sleep, it is really THE topic of conversation.

I actually prefer to walk unplanned and see where I end up that day, but that’s not an option right now. Still, I feel more and more in the camino flow and enjoy the little things.

Such as a donation for a roof tile for the new roof of the local church. The beautiful view on the way and the historic center of Salas with the old gate at the palace.

The next day there is unfortunately nowhere a place to sleep. I call a taxi in my bad Spanish and head back to Tineo. I spend the whole evening on the phone and I reserve all overnight stays in advance. I’m done with it, Santiago here I come! 

Route por Hospitales

Then the route por Hospitales is on the schedule, I walk from the village of Borres to the even smaller village of A Mesa. What a fantastically beautiful day, perhaps the most beautiful of the whole Primitivo! It is not busy on this route and I walk alone for long stretches. The higher I get, the more I walk in the fog and the clouds. Suddenly it starts to blow quite a lot, wow it is also very cold. Just a quick selfie at the top at Puerto del Palo at 1146 meters!

When I descend it quickly gets warmer and suddenly the fog disappears. What an amazing view! I continue to take pictures and enjoy it so much! On the way there was nothing in terms of food and drinks so at the first coffee bar 5 km before my final destination I go for a nice coffee with freshly baked cake. Life is good!

Above the clouds

First a delicious breakfast with fresh blueberries and homemade jam. After that the walk is exceptionally beautiful or I’m just a happy girl, I really enjoy everything now! 🙂 The sun is rising and we are walking with some pilgrims above the clouds it is so beautiful to see! I take too many photos and videos hahah I really enjoy this!

Near an old power plant, the clouds clear and I walk zigzagging down to to a beautiful blue lake. I meet two Dutch Camino cyclists, we have a coffee & chat and I notice that it is nice to speak Dutch again.

Another 163,772 km

Today’s stage is 48 kilometers, which is a bit too crazy for me, well otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to sleep. On a more boring part I take a taxi for 10 kilometers. It drops me off along the camino at post km 163,772 and I walk a lovely route to a beautiful albergue with lots of privacy.

Nice to have some time for myself, I like to reflect and think about the continuation of my journey… Continue walking to Porto in Portugal or Muxia near the coast? Looking for a Spanish shelter dog? Or book a ticket home?

Camino mood

Every day is a fantastic day, I’m really in the camino mood right now and I feel very happy. The route and the surroundings are fantastically beautiful, I meet so many nice people; Jaap, Ingrid, Paola, Dobrynja, Sabine, Sjoerd, Ton and all the people I can’t remember the name of and also a few sweet dogs! I have now walked 1000 km, wow that feels good!

Two days before I arrive in Santiago my left shin is painful, swollen and red. During the Primitivo route I have walked long distances in hilly area and I think my leg needs a little rest.

Dog shelter

I therefore decide not to continue walking after Santiago and go to a dog shelter in the neighborhood. It would be a stroke of luck if I found a dog there, but let’s give it a try!

As soon as I take the exit to the shelter I find it really exciting. I receive a friendly welcome in the shelter and I ask for a small to medium sized dog. A dog who likes to walk and travel a lot. Yes there he is, we have a match! Leo is a sweet social dog and after 3 weeks I can pick him up.

Would you like to read my blog about Leo from Spain?

Santiago de Compostela

Completely happy I walk on to Santiago. I take a picture at the Santiago sign and it feels great that I walked this long way for the 2nd time. At the cathedral my camino is finished. There is a serene peace and I feel very grateful that I was able to make this beautiful pilgrimage.

Camino finished

If you also want to walk a camino, I definitely recommend camino Primitivo (320 km). Physically challenging and exceptionally beautiful!

Places to stay

Oviedo – Grado – La Espina – Tineo (taxi Borres) – A Mesa – (10 km taxi) O Pineiral – Vilar de Cas – San Roman de Retorta – Melide – Pedrouzo – Santiago de Compostela.

Interested in the first part of this pilgrimage? Click on this link

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